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in aid to farmers. this is in addition to the destruction caused by hurricane sandy, the largest hurricane ever to form in the atlantic basin. it's estimated that sandy will cost almost $80 billion in federal funding for the replacement of homes, infrastructure, and buildings. combined, the drought and sandy will cost the federal government tens of billions of dollars at a time when we're talking about our debt. it's the job of congress and the administration to help these americans in time of need, make no mistake about it. we should. we will. but we need to be honest about how we plan for disaster spending. according to a report by the g.a.o. in september, there have been over 540 disaster declarations in the last eight years requiring over $90 billion in federal aid. it's time we face facts and state the obvious -- weather is getting worse. extreme weather events are happening with increased frequency and intensity. i held a hearing last year to talk about this issue, to examine whether the federal government is really prepared for this. the answer is no. i didn't bring in the
pipeline. during sandy, leaking gas field hundreds of fires including places that destroyed hundreds of homes. and find as you mention so eloquently, we must stop ignoring climate change. i serve on the house energy and commerce committee. science is clear. cutting carbon emissions over the long term is key to reducing the risk of extreme weather. so i thank you for the opportunity to testify, and look forward to working together to help our fellow americans feel from hurricanes and, to ensure that we're all better prepared for similar storms of the future. thank you so much. >> thank you represented. and i would go -- welcome. >> thank you, madam chairman. very much appreciate the invitation to speak before this committee today. i am very proud to represent staten island and brooklyn. staten island was one of the hardest hit areas of all new york city. i was on the ground from the moment the storm started. the amount of devastation that i saw was unimaginable. 24 staten islanders lost their lives. families lost everything. homes were literally torn off their foundations. some collap
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